Not an overland or off road trip, just a weekend getaway with my wife, but I did take advantage of a few local fire roads, but then the biggest snowstorm to hit for the year is the same time we leave, and It turns into an adventure.
I found this Airbnb on Instagram, Firetower Chalet: Majestic views+private 60 acres. I saw it was fairly close to where we live and found a 2 night opening, and booked it! It sells out about 6 months in advance, so I knew that I had to take the opening and book it fast!
The weekend is approaching so I get onto Gaia GPS and look for local fire roads and covered bridges. My wife is a not an “Overlander” or “off roader”, she enjoys the 5 start Marriott over the 1 MILLION Star campsite. So I had to find a happy medium, so I found just a few miles for something for us to do during the afternoon of the day were in town.
A Few Days before the trip a winter storm is going hit the Ohio River Valley and work its way East. But does snow scare a Jeep owner? No! We have a 3-4 Hour drive to Bloomsbury, its a slow drive, but I-80 is well plowed and sanded. The LED headlights on the Jeep do not melt the Rime Ice that acculturated. Note to self when driving at night you will have to pull over frequently to remove the ice so you can see the road!
A few days before we also got an email from the Airbnb Host, giving us the details of the stay. If told us that you need a 4×4 or all wheel drive Vehicle as the house is up a dirt farm road through his tree farm. He has a pickup available for us to use, but having the Jeep, I knew we were ok.
As we are in the middle of the storm we pull up to the farm, 4-Low & GO. Slow and steady wins the race. I’m having a blast, my wife is “lets just get there”.
We drive up a hill, around the tree farm and them through the woods, make a left and there is the Firetower! There is about 6-8 inches of snow on the ground, so we unpack the jeep and get settled. Inside is small and basic, but its a getaway house. No wifi (there is a Verizon hot spot-no streaming but enough for basic internet), no cable, just a TV, DVD player, books board games, and kitchen. We get settled in and just relax. We order carry out dinner, just another excuse for me to drive the jeep through the farm and snow!
The next day, with another few inches of freshly fallen snow, we “hit the roads” and out to explore covered bridges and fire roads. I let me wife do the driving as I’m out filming and shooting for YouTube. It was a fun day driving on virgin snow and make fresh tracks. A few covered bridges and a cool iron bridge, and back to the firetower.
Over the stay we drove out and down the main hill a few times. Each time it was snowing, so what snow we drove over, and melted, was always covered with fresh fallen snow. The last night, the snow has stoped and we chose to find a Restaurant in town for dinner. After a nice dinner we turn onto the farm road for the last time. As I said before, each time we drove the farm road new snow would fall and cover what snow we melted and compacted down. Now that compacted snow has turned to slippery snow/ice mix. We make it a few car lengths up and we are spinning tires. Now I’m thinking, “this ice great, content for YouTube and Instagram, and I get to use all my recovery gear!” But we are along and its dark. So the camera stay in the jeep and I need to get us up the hill and back to the firepower Safety. It takes about 2 hours to get us back to the house. I got to use the MaxTrax, but faster was the winch. I had to use the whole winch line to a tree, but them when I ran out of line, back to MaxTrax and throttle that worked out. It was a fun Experience and exercise using all my gear!
Overall it was great 3 days to get away and relax, and explore Central Pennsylvania.